Cybersecurity is swiftly rising to the top of the CEO agenda—and the pandemic is partially to blame. Technological advancement, widespread digitization, and increasingly complex yet fragile supply chains have widened the cyber attack surface, opening new doors for hackers everywhere.
The harsh reality for business leaders is that it’s getting easier for criminals to attack and more difficult for their companies to defend. CEOs must therefore accept the immediacy and severity of this threat, regardless of industry. Leaders should keep apprised of the following cybersecurity trends and understand their implications.
The scope of the problem is enormous. Although managing cybersecurity risks has traditionally been thought of in terms of financial impact, today it’s about far more than recouping lost profits. Reputations are on the line, as are companies’ ability to operate—and even human health and safety. One organization lost more than 100,000 customers and a third of its value after a breach. Another lost control of a furnace at its steel mill, preventing a safe shutdown and causing massive damage. If a process, piece of equipment, set of data, or any other asset has been digitized, it’s susceptible to attack.
Leaders who recognize this fact may rightly take action to shore up their cyber defenses but still fail to address the root cause of their vulnerability. While 23% of cyber breaches stem from technological inadequacies, human errors are to blame for the remaining 77%. Accordingly, building a vigilant workforce is as urgent a priority for companies as upgrading to the latest technologies. Further, to keep their businesses safe, executives must look beyond their organizations’ walls. The first quarter of 2021 saw a 41% uptick in supply chain cyber attacks, and 55% of all business-focused cyber attacks today target underprepared suppliers rather than the intended victim company. Interconnected business ecosystems, though increasingly necessary, are perfect fodder for cyber criminals.
Now for some good news. Leaders have it within their power to safeguard their organizations in a manner that is targeted to their specific circumstances and contexts. Learn more about the steps CEOs can take to protect their businesses from cyber threats—and how they can respond once an attack has occurred.
Download the full report from BCG here.